What's the Difference Between a Scholarship and an Award?

By SAIT Modified on February 13, 2020

And what are the best options for international students to consider?

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SAIT international students cluster to discuss scholarships, awards, and the best moves to make when applying.

So, you have decided to go abroad to study, and you're viewing the scholarship options at institutions across Canada. You are familiar with scholarships but you have also come across other things, like awards and bursaries. What are these? What is the difference between those and a scholarship? What is the difference between an entry scholarship and a general scholarship?

What is a Scholarship?

Scholarships are the best known financial assistance for students. They are most often merit based (or academic based) but they can also be based on sports, leadership/volunteering, etc. Many are renewable based on outlined requirements by the institution, but these tend to be ones that are offered starting from your second semester on. "Renewable" means you can continue to receive funds so long as you're eligible.

Scholarships can be automatically assessed, but you may need to apply for some as well.

If you will be starting your studies, you will probably want to look into entry scholarships. These tend to be merit based, focused on grades from your previous education, whether it's your high school or university grades. Most institutions have scholarships that you are automatically considered for in the admissions process, but for some scholarships, you may need to apply directly.

What is an Award?

These are one-time funds, and selection criteria varies: they could be based on academics, leadership, athletics, or — depending on the sponsor of the award — essays or financial need. Awards are not renewable, but it is possible to win several awards in a semester. Awards are not always financial! They can also come in the form of books, conference or membership registrations, or even school supplies for the coming semester.

Tips on Scholarships

The biggest things to remember when looking at scholarship and award requirements is just to apply to them all! Every institution in Canada has thousands of dollars every year in scholarships and awards that go unclaimed because no one applies. Don't just look at the dollar amount, as of course, the larger the amount, the more people will apply, meaning competition can be stiff. The smaller award totals are often overlooked.

Do not worry if you think you only have the minimum requirements. Many students think the same thing — there has to be someone with higher grades, or more volunteering or leadership experience or a larger financial need — so they do not apply. Forget that. Apply to everything!



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